About Jessica Helfand
PHOTO: John Dolan
One of the leading designers in America, Jessica Helfand works in partnership with William Drenttel at Winterhouse, a design collaborative in New England focusing on publishing projects and new media. Selected clients include The New Yorker
, filmmaker Errol Morris, Yale University, American Masters/PBS and the National Design Awards.
Prior to co-founding Winterhouse, Helfand was an award-winning editorial and interaction designer, whose clients included The New York Times, Newsweek, The Times of London
and the Discovery Channel.
Helfand is one of the founding editors of Design Observer
, currently the largest international blog of design and cultural criticism. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Communications Arts
magazines, she has written for numerous national publications including Aperture, Los Angeles Times Book Review
and The New Republic
, and has twice appeared on National Public Radio. A member of the Writers Guild of America for more than two decades, Helfand was previously part of the CBS-TV “Guiding Light” writing team that won an Emmy Award for best writing in 1985.
She is the author of several books on design and cultural criticism, including Paul Rand: American Modernist
(1998), Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media and Visual Culture
(2001) and Reinventing the Wheel
(2002), which formed the basis for an exhibit in 2003 at The Grolier Club in New York City. In 2006, she was appointed by the Postmaster General to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee.
Helfand has been a visiting critic at numerous programs in design and architecture throughout the United States and Europe and has lectured at the Netherlands Design Institute, the Walker Art Center, Smithsonian Institution and the Annenberg Center for Public Policy, among others. She has taught for the last decade in the graduate program in Graphic Design at Yale School of Art, where she is a Fellow at Jonathan Edwards College. She has also taught at The Cooper Union and New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Jessica Helfand received a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Architectural Theory and a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, both from Yale University. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, William Drenttel and their two children.
Other Books by Jessica Helfand
Reinventing the Wheel
From circular mathematical slide rules to Captain Marvel phonetic decoders; from nuclear bomb blast calculators to gestational breeding planners; and from astronomical planispheres to presidential trivia plotters, Reinventing the Wheel demonstrates the astonishing range and remarkable utility of these ingenious "interactive" tools.
Princeton Architectural Press, 2002
Barnes & Noble
Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media and Visual Culture
Previously published in places as diverse as Eye, Print, ID, The New Republic
, and the Los Angeles Times
, these essays decode the technologies, trends, themes, personalities, and visual phenomena that frame contemporary design theory and practice, addressing topics as far-ranging as talking Barbies, mindless manifestoes, scratchy typography, reality television, de Stijl geometry, chicken nuggets, and sex on the screen.
Princeton Architectural Press, 2001
Barnes & Noble
Paul Rand: American Modernist
An examination of one of the most influential modern American graphic designers and his crucial role in helping to define a new visual language that revolutionized design in America as both a service and as an art. Helfand's fresh research into Rand's tenacious interests in the European avant garde, art history, and the enduring relevance of his theory for "Play Instinct" bring to light fascinating contradictions that make his legacy all the more distinct.
Winterhouse Editions, 1998